Chicago Ethnic Celebrations: El Señor de los Milagros

Rogers Park is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in Chicago. And it is here, at St. Ignatius Catholic church, where the Peruvian community of Chicago congregates every year to celebrate one of the symbols of their identity: la procesión del Señor de los Milagros (the procession of the Lord of Miracles). This is a catholic religious celebration that takes place during the month of October in Lima, the capital of Peru, and in many cities around the world. The procession takes spectacular dimensions in Lima. In fact, it is said to gather the largest number of believers in South America. Hundreds of thousands of devotees crowd through the streets of Lima and walk slowly around the image of the Lord of Miracles in a state of profound fervor through clouds of incense and devotional singing and music. I still have a vivid memory of the time when, as a little girl living in Lima, my parents took me to see the procession.  I felt taken in by the energy, the sea of purple, incense, and music that filled the streets. It was a feast for the senses!

In Chicago, a replica of the enormous image is transported on the shoulders of members of the local Peruvian Brotherhood of el Señor de los Milagros once a year.  Unlike other communities, Peruvians don’t concentrate in a particular neighborhood, but the procession is a great reason for them to get together. There is a strong sense of community felt in this celebration. It is also a good way to connect with other communities in Chicago. The band accompanying the procession was the Sicilian band of Chicago, who did a good job at faithfully playing the Peruvian hymns.  All in all, this is an event that is worth experiencing.

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